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Teaching a Global Audience in Emergency Preparedness and Response Requirements

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A participant at the National Workshop on the Revised Safety Requirements in Emergency Preparedness and Response (GSR Part 7), which took place at Nanhua University in the People’s Republic of China on 26-29 June 2017, asks a question during a working session. (Photo: V. Kutkov/IAEA)

The IAEA has in recent months helped 240 workshop participants in four regions gain skills to better implement new IAEA safety requirements for preparedness and response to nuclear or radiological emergencies.

In 2015, the IAEA published updated safety requirements on Preparedness and Response for a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency (IAEA Safety Standards Series No. GSR Part 7). The update, which incorporated lessons from emergencies that have occurred since 2002, when the previous version was published, provides additional detail on the requirements for areas such as emergency management systems, protection strategies, resilience of emergency arrangements, protection of emergency workers and cooperation in case of a transboundary emergency.

Since the publication of the update, the IAEA held workshops for emergency planners and responders from throughout the world to train them on how to apply the new requirements within their national emergency preparedness and response (EPR) arrangements. Countries also benefit as participants share what they learned with their colleagues to multiply impact on national EPR capabilities.

At a workshop held last week in Ottawa, Canada, 50 representatives of regulators, radiation protection authorities, utilities, local communities and public health authorities in the United States and Canada learned about the new safety requirements. The varied backgrounds of the participants made for insightful exchanges of information and expertise.

In June 2017, 20 EPR experts from the Africa took part in a workshop in Vienna, Austria, gaining skills enabling them to work more effectively to develop or strengthen national EPR arrangements and infrastructure.

The IAEA Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC) also organises such workshops on request at a national level, said Elena Buglova, Head of the IEC. A national workshop in April 2017 in the United Arab Emirates had 30 participants, while a workshop in June 2017 in China had 140 participants.

“Such national workshops have been very successful in improving the hosts’ ability to apply the updated requirements,” she said. “The great discussions and active involvement from the participants showed their commitment to apply the new safety requirements and provided them with the knowledge to implement those requirements in a consistent and coordinated manner.”

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